Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sad Day at Casa Hagg

Yesterday I had some beautiful tomatoes & garlic & onions... all ready to slow roast for a pasta dish ...

mmm... yummy, eh?  I put them in the oven on 250 to roast for an hour... then they were going to have a party with some farfalle pasta & some Parmesan cheese ..

I was a roastin' away and enjoying that wonderful smell when all of a sudden, it started to smell a little bit like a burnt smell.

What? the oven is only on 250?? So I went to open the oven & it's locked. And hot. Very hot. Very VERY hot. What? So I turned the oven off & waited for it to cool. And called Scott. And the appliance repair dude.

After about an hour, the oven is still hot.. and I realized that the broiler was on. With the oven door locked , the power off AND the maters & onions & garlic still in there.

The appliance guy called back & walked me through shutting the power off from the breaker.

SO now.. no oven, no stove.

I was forced to grill the only thing that I had defrosted in the fridge for dinner.. a butterflied leg of lamb that was meant for an upcoming special occasion...  On a Wednesday night.

 I made a paste of chopped garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt & pepper & massaged it in & let sit at room temp for about 45 minutes before grilling. I grilled it to an internal temp of 145 then let it rest.

I don't eat lamb anymore, but Ryan said that it was out of this world fantastic.

I also grilled some bacon ( indirect heat) for some BLT sandwiches for me.

And of course, some squash. Lots & Lots of squash.

So the stove FINALLY cooled down, hours later,  we turned the breaker back on, now there is no power to the oven. ( the stove- top is working)

I should be thankful for that ;)

So CJ, our trusty appliance guy came over this morning and managed to get the door open to discover this

basically, dust.... formerly farm-fresh tomatoes...

to which Ryan said, " mmm, mom. good eats.. now that's some home cookin'!!"

CJ said that the control panel is gone :( to the tune of at LEAST couple hundred bucks ( if in fact that is the problem :(

The oven had put itself into self- cleaning mode all on it's very own

So I am now without a stove. This is hard for me.. I'm almost hyper-ventilating....

How am I to make Scott's birthday cake??

How am I to...

How am I to...

How am I to... *calm down, Michelle*

I was planning to bake up a ton of zucchini bread

  do you think that I can bake a cake on the grill??

*snif*  what's a girl to do??

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fried Smashed Potatoes

Included this week in our share were purple &  pink outside!  For real!

Look how cool these babies are! I decided to make Giada's fried smashed potatoes

theses were fun to make because you get to use the palm of your hand to smash them.

just don't press too hard

oops! No worries, we still ate it:)

I got to use my new non-stick frying pan :)

and my new pepper mill 

life is good ♥♥

These taters came out really great. I needed to cook them in two batches so that they didn't overcrowd the pan which would have made it more difficult to get that wonderful golden crust. 

This was a simple dish (that could be made with any baby potatoes) that was very impressive. 


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chilled Cucumber Soup & homemade refrigerator pickles

Here is what we received this week from Plato's Harvest Organic Farm

Is this not a beautiful rainbow of goodies??? Does it get any better? I think not!

Here is an easy-peasy way to whip up a chilled soup for those lazy hazy dog days of summer..

my super-loyal pup, Fenway on her birthday

6 good-sized cucumbers ( or 8 smaller ones) ; peeled & seeded & roughly chopped
1/2 of a sweet onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped ( it gives just a hint of heat, if you don't like that then only use half)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & smashed
1 cups of plain Greek yogurt (you should be buying this stuff all the time)
3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon each, cilantro, dill , mint & chives
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
zest of 1 lemon

salt & pepper
chicken stock

Add all ingredients to a blender &  ( yup.. toss them all in there together!) process until smooth. Add enough chicken stock to be a medium-thickness consistency. ( I used about 3/4 cup) Season with salt & pepper.

Chill for at least 2 hours so that flavors can meld together. Serve garnished with chopped chives & a sprinkle of lemon zest.

Ahh!! refreshingly delicious! ( and quite healthy, too!)

Now... with an abundance of cukes, I decided to try to make Rachael Ray's Quick Refrigerator pickles

here is what you need to gather

oh, and a Mason jar :)  There is something about Mason jars that I just love.. I store my sauces, my herbs, my soups.. I just love them :)

I made a few variations to her recipe (don't I always?)

Her 'eyeball' of 1/2 cup vinegar was not nearly enough.. maybe my super-awesome Mason jar was too big, but I needed about 1/3 cup more vinegar.

I also chopped the garlic and didn't add it to the vinegar mixture until I was about top turn off the heat from the mixture. I really don't like the taste of over-cooked garlic.. By adding it at the last minute, the sharp garlic flavor was able to mellow without any trace of bitterness.

I also cut my cukes into rounds rather than angles. I'm a rebel like that :)

The last change that I made was adding some whole black peppercorns. I'm a pepper fanatic, so the thought of my pickles a-marinating without pepper brought me to tears. *snif*

I ran the jar under warm water before I added the cucumbers and the halfway cooled liquid just so the there wasn't any issue with the pouring hot into cold & glass breaking nightmare.

These came out really good. I recommend letting them sit overnight in the fridge before eating them.. it took that long for the flavors to come together  in that perfect sweet/ sour flavor.

And as fast as I typed this blog, my zucchini in my garden has grown another 4 inches.....  it's pure magic!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Whoaa!! a double post??? on a Monday??

Yup! you heard it here!! I am so excited about my little treats that I made last night that I simply couldn't wait..

Bacon-wrapped grilled jalapeno poppers!!!

I started with the basics, jalapenos, a few slices of bacon, colby-jack cheese sticks & toothpicks.

Cut the tops off of the peppers & core them. For years I have struggled with getting the centers out and still leaving the pepper in tact. Then it occurred to me.. use the pumpkin tool form carving jac-o-lanterns!

works like a charm!
Cut each cheese stick in half & shove that baby right down into the center of your pepper. Cut each bacon slice in half & wrap around the pepper up near the top: secure with a toothpick.

I have this nifty popper holder that I got last year with a gift card, but you don't need to be all fancy pants like this to make these.

to prove it, I made one without my exciting toy

just don't place the pepper directly over the coals, because the bacon drippings will cause flare ups.  Don't ask me how I know this....

Grill them until the bacon is crisp & the cheese is oh-so-yummlily melted.

And just in case that you missed the first picture..

they were kind of spicy, but I love spicy ;)

I need to go now, I think that I'm going to make these again.

right now.


Thai Chicken & Coconut Rice!!

I love the flavors of Asian-style food, but since I have a seafood allergy, I hesitate to order it out.  I often look for recipes with the flavor profiles that I like, and adapt them so that I can eat them without any adverse effects.

I made this marinade  using Tamari in place of fish sauce. If you like fish sauce, feel free to substitute the fish sauce back in, just don't invite me for dinner that night ;)

I based it on This recipe.... making my own changes

1/2 can of coconut milk  ( I used Trader Joe's light coconut milk)
2 heaping tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Tamari
juice & zest of 1 lemon
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt & pepper

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

I placed all of the ingredients ( except the chicken) in the small bowl of my food processor & whirred until blended. Presto! you now have a flavorful marinade!

Pour the marinated over the chicken in either a tupperware-type container or a reseal-able zip lock baggie.

Marinate for at least 4 hours ( I did mine overnight)

prepare grill; discard any leftover marinade  ( or an indoor grill pan, as I did since that first night that I made these it was almost 100 degrees out )

Place chicken on the grill & let it set for a few minutes ( don't play with it, let the grill marks do their job) If the chicken sticks to the grill, then it's not ready to be moved ; then, using tongs, rotate each chicken breast a half turn to get those oh-so-pretty grill marks.

  flip each chicken breast over & do the same on the other side.

Grill until you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Remove from grill & let rest for 5 minutes.

The perfect accompaniment for this dish was a spicy Thai rice

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup jasmine rice
1 teaspoon butter
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric ( that's what gives the rice it's beautiful color!)
salt & pepper
juice & zest of half of a lime

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

bring all ingredients except for ,lime juice & cilantro to a boil in a 2-3 quart saucepan. Stir a few times to make sure that everything is combined then  reduce heat, cover & let cook until all of the liquid is absorbed into the rice.

Using a fork, fluff the rice & add the lime juice.

Garnish with cilantro and devour!

I grilled some zucchini rounds and voila! dinner!

This chicken was unbelievable. Ali could not stop talking about it.  I've made this again, and grilled it on my charcoal grill & it was just as wonderful. This is a must-try dish ;)

on another note..... here is a get well card that a good friend sent to me. I think that it is self-explanatory

the inside reads,

 " It won't be long until you're back doing all the things you shouldn't be doing.
get well soon"

and the little girl in the pink dress? classic!

thanks C~ smooch!

oxoxo ~ michelle

Sunday, July 25, 2010

:cue siren alarms: IMPORTANT!!!!

you know that  roasted vegetable pasta dish? yeah, that one right down there???  I realized that I forgot something.

I know.. a shocker right???

When mixing the cheese & veggies & pasta water... you also need to add 1 cup of frozen peas. I was lucky enough to have peas that I froze from Plato's Harvest  earlier in the CSA


and so you have it,  my admittance of a mistake. My first mistake ever. Imagine that! And yet I am brave enough to hide behind my computer screen and send this message out to you.

:insert applause here:


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

I LOVE roasted veggies! They look good, they smell good, they taste good.

and pasta.. OH!!! my love for pasta....:swoons:

My picture taking skills were on the lame side last night.. I'm not proud of my behavior. Truth is, I started with these ingredients & made the rest up as I went. So pictured is where we started :)

1 summer squash; cut into cubes
1 zucchini squash; cut into cubes
1 head of garlic, top cut off, not peeled
1 red onion, cut into cubes
1 red pepper; cut into cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 sprig of Rosemary
Olive oil
1 box of ziti
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of grated  parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese
2 Tablespoon butter
Chopped basil  & parsley

:revised ingredient:

1 cup frozen peas

Toss all of the veggies with a generous drizzle of olive oil a place on a foil-lined cookie sheet . Tuck rosemary spring under veggies & make sure the the garlic clove has oil drizzled on top of it. Season with salt & pepper.

Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 25 minutes.  Remove rosemary sprig & garlic cloves. When garlic is cool enough, squeeze the roasted garlic from the bulb; set aside.

While vegetables are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil & season generously with salt. Cook pasta until the al dente stage, a few minutes less than what the directions on the box state.

Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Return pasta to pot, add veggies, along with any accumulated juices, the ricotta, 1/3 of each of the shredded cheeses, the roasted garlic& mix. *revised directions* also mix frozen peas.. no need to defrost, the heat from the other veggies & pasta will warm them.. Add reserved pasta water.  Season again with slat & pepper.

Pour mixture into a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish & top with remaining shredded cheeses & pats of butter. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil, place under broiler for about a minute, the garnish with chopped herbs.

I like to drizzle a bit of EVOO on top top after it is all finished :)

 *revised* see those pretty peas in there that I forgot the first time. poor peas :(

I also made whole wheat garlic cheese bread using the bread from our bread share of our CSA

ok.. that was a seriously post, eh? I needed to remember everything that I did before I forgot it.. makes sense, eh?

now I'm exhausted :phew:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zucchini friatta

Phew.... ok.. the last recipe that I promised ( and actually lived up to..)

I made this last night because I had 3/4 of my zucchini left and felt a little creative.   I shredded the zucchini, it came to about 2 cups loosely packed. I rolled it in paper towels to drain excess moisture.

I mixed 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs with 2 egg white & 1 egg, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 2 garlic cloves; minced, fresh thyme, parsley & rosemary minced, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese & the shredded zucchini.

season with salt & pepper.

I heated a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and added the whole mixture & pressed down lightly with a spatula. I let it cook for about 8 minutes until a crispy crust formed.

Next I inverted it onto a foil-lined cookie sheet & baked in 375 oven for about 25 minutes. I topped it with more parmesan cheese & put it under the broiler until the cheese melted.

I made a mixture of low fat cream cheese, non fat greek yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt & pepper & served it as a dipping sauce.

This was good last night, but equally as good cold when I had it for breakfast this morning :)

This one's for you, Jessica.... I hope that it works for you



More zucchini recipes!!!

Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini..... these babies seem to grow enormous overnight!! I'm making a real effort to try to utilize every single one of these wonders

first up, I have a recipe that I got off of my weight watcher's message board..


just as it sounds, it's a 'guacamole' type of dip or spread , but it's made with zucchini rather then avocado!!

the recipe is courtesy of Billie Jean form Warren, Michigan

3 pounds summer squash
Approximately 1/2 head garlic
1 large onion (sweet varieties preferred, i.e. Vidalia, Walla Walla)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
1/2 cup basil and/or mint leaves
1/2 cup parsley, stemmed
2 tablespoons juice of lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
Slice zucchini in half, lengthwise. Separate garlic cloves but keep skins on. Quarter onion. Place vegetables in roasting pan and slather with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the teaspoon of salt. Roast until extremely tender, at least 1 hour and up to 90 minutes. 

While vegetables are roasting, prepare herbs; pull leaves off stems and tear or chop coarsely. Let vegetables cool slightly and squeeze garlic from skins. Place all vegetables into bowl of food processor and pulse. Add herbs. Puree until smooth and combined. Add lemon juice and salt. Drizzle in remaining olive oil. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
Chill and serve with crackers, pita crisps, crudite or make as part of a sandwich.

This was jut as yummy warm as it was cold ( I couldn't wait for it to cool to try it).  For those of you on WW, I'm not sure point-wise, but it's probably pretty low. You could make it even a bit more point friendly but switching out some of the olive oil for chicken broth.

another keeper!

Next I made Zucchini carpachio from Tyler Florence.

I used my mandolin to slice the zucchini very thinly, but you could do it with just a knife, it just takes longer. I also used about 1/2 of the ricotta cheese.

It also took only 1 zucchini for this plate. I have some pretty big zucchini!!!

Scott found a recipe for zucchini quesadillas in a magazine, so we tried those. I thinly sliced about 1/2 of a zuck, and sliced some jalapeno cheddar cheese.

 I sprayed a non-stick skillet with cooking spray then added a tortilla ( mine was from trader Joe's, I think a chili-lime flavored one) added the cheese then topped with the thin zucchini.

I chopped up a bit of avocado & made some  basil confetti, seasoned it with s & p.

This particular one, I just cooked then fold in half then used a pizza cutter to cut into wedges.  You could also just add another layer of cheese, add another tortilla, flip it, for twice the serving.

In an effort to behave, I was good and only ate my half ;)

I usually would eat something like this with non-fat greek yogurt with some cumin mixed in. I must have been in a rush.......

I'm off to PT~  my first time driving in a month, but I have one more post later this evening.. another zucchini dish, but for right now, I am out of time....

and yes, I will be VERY careful!!!


thanks for reading!

Monday, July 19, 2010

homemade creamed corn with bacon

Look at the beautiful rainbow of goodies that we received this week!  I am having so much fun coming home with our treasures & deciding what to do with all of them!

I saw Rachael  Ray make a corn dish on Food Network last week & with our freshly picked corn on the cob,  I knew that I had to try it.  Summer Corn Fettucini.

I didn't actually make the fettucini part, just the creamed corn. It was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! not only did I make it once, I made it again the very next day. If you like sweet corn, this is a recipe to try...

it is so simple to make , yet the flavors are incredible together. Trust me, this one's a keeper!

I also made a pan- fried squash & tomato salad.

I sliced the squash into 1/4 inch circles, then used a standard breading procedure ( seasoned flour, egg wash. bread crumbs) I used panko because I like the texture, and I shredded some parmesan with the bread crumbs.

I sauteed each round in a little bit of olive oil, just to get a light crust, then transfered them to a foiled-lined cookie sheet with a baking rack on top, and baked at 375 for about 20 minutes.

I sliced up a ripe tomato & layered with the squash a squeeze of lemon juice & a drizzle of olive oil.  Finally, a shaving of parmesan cheese.
I actually decided after  I took this picture to make 2 layers to this. So each serving had 2 squash & 2 tomatoes, but I forgot to take a picture ;(  But no worries.. I'll be making these again very soon, so I'll sneak a  complete picture.

This week we also picked beans at the farm. There were purple & green. I found  a recipe from Paula Deen Green bean bundles

I wrapped them into cute little packages & placed them along side of my charcoal (under the grate) for about 12 minutes. I can't begin to describe the flavor of these. They were light, slightly smokey, tangy form the lemon and sweet from the butter.  And overall, just plain fun!!!

Even Ryan who isn't overly crazy for green/ purple beans, ate every last one.

Now here is an interesting fact that we learned last night, the purple beans actually cook to green ! Go figure!

These were out side dish to go with our Ultimate Chicken Kebobs. I didn't make the salad part, and changed a few things. I used both sweet & spicy Italian sausage & I par-boiled them for a few minutes, and let them cool before threading. I also grilled some of the bread on it's own, which was good, because the bread on the skewers  was just a little bit too well done ( no worries, not so bad that we didn't eat it)

Even thought the bread on the skewers was a cooked a little much, I would still do it again because the flavor & juices form everything together made this just wonderful!

my ONLY complaint was that there weren't any leftovers ;(

I leave with with some flower pics from the farm this week.....

oxooxx~ michelle